Current Banknotes Still Valid After New Bills Issued; Alert over Fraud Saying Old Notes Are Unusable

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A vending machine with a sticker indicating it can accept both the current and new banknotes

Authorities are calling for public caution ahead of the issuance of new banknotes on July 3, as fraudsters could try to swindle people out of the current banknotes by claiming they cannot be used any more.

Authorities are concerned that the fraudsters might try to take advantage of the confusion likely to occur after the ¥10,000, ¥5,000 and ¥1,000 notes are renewed next month, even though the current banknotes will remain usable afterward.

According to the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Japan, a total of 4.5 billion of the three new banknotes had already been printed as of the end of last fiscal year, which ended in March. They will be introduced at financial institutions and ATMs starting July 3.

According to a survey conducted by the ministry, about 80% to 90% of ticket vending machines for railroads and cash registers at convenience stores and supermarkets had been upgraded to accept the new banknotes as of the end of May. On the other hand, that ratio stood at only about 20% to 30% for vending machines containing beverages and other items. Even so, consumers will encounter no problems, as these machines can also handle the current banknotes.

The ministry, the Bank of Japan and police nationwide are on alert over possible cases in which fraudsters encourage people to pay the current banknotes into their accounts or to hand the notes over to them by suggesting that they can exchange the current banknotes for new ones.

Among the banknotes that have already been discontinued, 18 — such as the ¥10,000 bill with a portrait of Prince Shotoku — are still valid, according to the ministry.